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Nurse practitioners (NPs) who experience the 2023 AANP National Conference live in New Orleans — or remotely from anywhere — have the option to choose from a wealth of presentations on a variety of topics. While earning continuing education (CE), NPs may soak up clinical expertise on mentorship (“Mentorship Matters: Ensuring Support for Nurse Practitioner Career Progression”); common dangerous drug interactions (“Things that Go BOOM!”); the management of environmental emergencies (“When Critters Bite”) and much more.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) spoke with Dr. Michael Gooch, DNP, APRN, CCP, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, ENP-C, about his upcoming conference presentation “Alien Invasion: Attack of the Allergic Reactions,” and Dr. Jason Gleason (aka Dr. J), DNP, NP-C, USAF Lieutenant Colonel (RET), about his presentation “Good Grief – Managing Grief, Depression, PTSD and Anxiety in Primary Care.” Though the emotional trauma of grief and the physiological trauma of an allergic reaction are not exactly similar, both Gleason and Gooch center the importance of person-centric care and exhibit a thoughtfulness — and optimism — discussing these complicated and serious subjects.
Dr. Michael Gooch: I can remember my first severe allergic reaction. I was working as a paramedic and I was on an ambulance when a guy was stung by an insect and had a severe anaphylaxis. It’s something we see pretty frequently in the ED. There’s still a lot of debate about what the proper way is to treat these patients; the key drug is going to be epinephrine, but it obviously has significant side effects, and there’s still debate. I thought I could better educate myself and educate others on why epinephrine is so important, and to help others decide: “Is this the true anaphylaxis, or is this just an allergic reaction that can be treated more conservatively?”
Dr. Jason Gleason: I take care of our national heroes at the Veterans Health Administration, and they have issues with depression, anxiety and certainly PTSD from their deployments, military service and the trauma that they’ve been through in serving our country. It’s an honor taking care of them, and I’ve learned from the front lines how to take care of them in very good ways. But I also, unfortunately, know the other side of grief.
My loss was quite profound. My wife of 16 years passed away 11 years ago in a hospice after having a stroke — a devastating stroke — and it left my three young boys ages 7, 10 and 14 and I totally shattered. How do you pick your life up after being 39 years old and having an amazing life, to suddenly being a single parent and losing this amazing person that you loved so much?
I was sitting there reflecting one day on my grief journey, and I thought, “You know what, this is not something that I’m ever going to get over.” And we shouldn’t get over that, because these individuals meant so much to us and our love ran so deep for them…but what I found in my own personal journey, and what I try to apply in my practice as an NP, is that I did get through it. These losses are not something that people get over — you never do, it’s always with you — but you can get through it.
Gooch: Allergic reactions relate to almost every specialty, whether you’re in primary care, acute care or emergency — any of us can see a patient with an allergic reaction. I’m going to talk about a couple of things like alpha-gal syndrome — the tick bite meat allergy that’s becoming more in the forefront and that we see more of happening in the ED and in primary care settings.
It’s not something that we see every day, or even every week in our clinical practice, but when you do see that true case of anaphylaxis, it’s something that needs to be recognized and treated pretty rapidly.
Gleason: I’ve talked about stroke now from coast to coast; I’ve given presentations on stroke for the last eleven years to students at universities, to health care professionals and legislators. Every time I share the story — my personal story — I do it at great sacrifice. Even though my wife passed away in 2011, when I talk about it, it’s like it happened yesterday. For me — emotionally — it’s somewhat traumatizing, as if you had a wound and it’s trying to heal, and you kept messing with it and it just never does.
The silver lining is I share that story and my personal experience with grief and loss because I want to use it to help someone else, and to take something horrific, something awful and terrible and bring something good out of it — and bring something good to honor my wife Heather’s memory.
Gooch: The educational sessions are awesome, but it’s also a great place for networking. For some colleagues I know, if we live in different parts of the country, the only time we ever see each other is at conference. It’s also a great chance to meet other people.
Gleason: I think it’s a great opportunity for NPs to come together and support one another, to talk about the challenges that are unique to our profession that we face. This huge conference, this wonderful conference that AANP puts on every year — that’s just the beginning. What I love are the relationships and connections that go on after conference. Thousands of NPs connected, unified and networking across the country — there’s no power greater than that. It’s a power and force to improve patients’ lives, and in doing so, one that improves our own.
With more than 330 live sessions and 24 hands-on workshops from which to choose, you can earn up to 34 contact hours (CH) of continuing education (CE) credit at the 2023 AANP National Conference in New Orleans on June 20-25 — plus, enjoy free access to more than 80 prerecorded sessions on demand June 28-Aug. 3!